Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Books & Books - Coral Gables, FL

Books & Books - Coral Gables, FL

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Mitch K., the owner of Books & Books in Coral Gables told me, "A good bookstore is a good destination."  How right he is!  And beyond a shadow of a doubt, Books & Books is a destination.  There's only one thing I would change with his comment.  It should be, "A great bookstore is a great destination."  That is so true of my many visits and I'm lucky to enjoy these wonderful destinations.  But Books & Books isn't just a good destination, it's a great destination.

When you visit this store, you can tackle it in several different ways.  If you're here on a Friday or Saturday evening, you can get a beverage at the bar and walk straight into the courtyard and listen to the live music.  An outdoor courtyard works for a bookstore in Florida, not so much in Minnesota or Illinois.  Or Iowa!  Or, go to the right when you enter and visit the large fiction room, the children's section room, or the Assouline room, a room of books by the French publisher which includes some art and photography books, to name a few.  If you don't go to the right when you enter, go to the left and visit the room with a large selection of Indie Bound bestsellers and staff favorites, among others.  Beyond that is a large room of art and photography books, one of the strengths in this store.  You'll find books here that simply cannot be found elsewhere.  Your final option would be to skip all this and proceed directly to the café.  On this day I had a curried chicken salad that was outstanding.  Enjoy something from the varied lunch menu or just have a latte, it's all good here.  

The store is very active with author events and has as many as 700/year.  If you can't be at the store for an event, they live-stream all of them on their website Books & Books.  Order a book while watching the stream and get free shipping.  The store also has a gift shop which looks fantastic.  And if you want to publish a book, they might be able to do it for you.  The only thing missing here?  The bookstore cat!

Have you heard the statement, "the bigger they are, the nicer they are?"  This describes my visit to Books & Books and meeting their fine owner, Mitch K.  He was extremely accommodating to take so much of his time to meet me and tell me about the Books & Books stores, the business, and Miami.  Keep in mind, this is a person who owns multiple Books & Books stores, is a partner with another individual who owns a movie company, is heavily involved with the Miami Book Fair and has helped that grow into a major event, and a former president of the American Booksellers Association (ABA).  And that's only the stuff I know about!  I couldn't be more grateful of the time he spent with me.  It is amazing to me that back in 1982, with no background in business, this guy took a leap of faith and has firmly planted a footstep in an effort to preserve and maintain a literary tradition and heritage.  Bravo Mitch, march onward!

Many of you will visit Miami someday, might even fly there.  For those of you who fly there and tell me you can't be bothered with visiting a bookstore, I have some great news.  When you're sprinting through Miami International, keep your eyes open.  You can visit the Books & Books located there.  You're welcome.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:   A Civil Action, Jonathan Harr.  Absolutely loved this one and couldn't put it down.  It reads like a John Grisham legal thriller except this is a true story.  A high incidence of leukemia and other health problems are clustered in a Massachusetts town.  The likely cause becomes a legal issue.  Highly recommended.

CURRENTLY READING:  Displacement, Lucy Knisley.  Loving it.  More about this in my next blog entry.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Actually not purchased, but gifted.  Last Train To Paradise, Centennial Edition, Les Standiford.  As well as a t-shirt and really cool book bag.  Thanks Mitch!

Another exterior view.  

This is the entrance.  Straight ahead is the courtyard.  Enter the bookstore through doors on the right or the left.  

Some of the magazines available in the outside area.  

Picture yourself in this beautiful courtyard, sipping a beverage, listening to some music, and trying out a book.  How could it be any better?!

Assouline is a French publisher.  Those books are in this room, near the front of the store.  

Walk through this hallway to the children's section.  On these walls you'll find artwork by local artists.  

Great view of the children's section, which is really a whole room to itself.  

Many children's authors and illustrators have framed work here, signed for Books & Books.    

Some of the children's sidelines.  

Books and books.  Really!  This place is very browse-able!  

Pick out a hip pair of readers!

Some sidelines.  

Another view of the main fiction room.  

Go to the café and just try to resist this!

Seating area in the café.  Lots of framed pictures of authors who have visited here are on the wall.  

Blow this picture up and see how many celebrity autographs you recognize.  

Find the Indie Bestsellers and many staff picks in this room.  

A unique way to display books in the windows.  

Great display of staff picks.  

This large room features many art and photography books, organized by publisher.  Impressive!

Another view of that same room.  

Here's a great place to sit and look at one of the large books.  

Need something in Spanish?  Find it here.  

The gift shop looked great but it is closed on Mondays, the day I visited.  It is actually next door to the bookstore.  

Mitch K. on the right, the fine owner of Books & Books.  Thanks for a great visit!

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